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New York African Film Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary

New York African Film Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary

In celebration of this year's African Film Festival, here are 6 must-see films from their prestigious Shorts Programme.

Under the banner "Streaming Rivers: The Past into the Present," the New York African Film Festival(NYAFF) returns virtually this December with a spotlight on the cinema of two nations: Nigeria and the Sudan. Presented by Film at Lincoln Center (FLC) and African Film Festival (AFF), this year's regional NYAFF will screen six features and eight short films in the FLC Virtual Cinema, as the AFF celebrates its 30th anniversary.

The festival will transport audiences to the Sudan and Nigeria, two nations whose film industries were disrupted in their nascency — in Nigeria by an economic decline in the late 1970s and early 1980s and in Sudan by the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir whose 30-year grip on the country was ended by the 2019 uprising. In recent years, Sudan's film industry has been revived by an emerging crop of filmmakers, who are also dedicated to restoring the works of the veterans on whose shoulders they stand. Nollywood can claim the mantle of being Africa's homegrown film industry, which has influenced filmmakers globally and provided the template for other nations to jump-start their own nascent motion picture businesses.

The festival's Shorts Programme boasts a number of varied and enthralling short films from across the continent and the world. According to the festival, "The Shorts Programme is composed of works by filmmakers who are challenging the notion of home, space and where in the world Africa is." Furthermore, "Taboo subjects are tackled within the realms of gender, sexuality, liberation, redefining the evolving phrase "tradition versus modernity" and from the point of view of younger generations."


Below are 6 short films that are a definite must-see and are part of the festival's Shorts Programme.


1. 'A Cemetery of Doves' (2019)

Still taken from YouTube.

This short film is about love, heartbreak and navigating the world as a queer individual. A teenager's declaration of love for an older man is met with rejection and he subsequently struggles with heartbreak and fear for his safety and future in a society which is intolerant of the LGBTQ community.

Country: Nigeria

Directed by: Adé Sultan Sangodoyin

Find more details about A Cemetery of Doves here.

2. 'Coffee Colored Children' (1988)

Still taken from YouTube.

This short film is an oldie but certainly a goodie. Coffee Colored Children is a lyrical and unsettling film which conveys the experience of children of mixed racial heritage. It certainly tackles the issue of identity and the experiences that come with that particular identity in an exquisite manner.

Country: Nigeria

Directed by: Ngozi Onwurah

Find more details about Coffee Colored Children here.

3. 'A Game' (2010)

Still taken from YouTube.

This short film was adapted from a short story written by Italian writer, Alberto Moravia. What initially begins as a playful and seemingly innocuous game, descends into a confrontation between a divorced single mother and her little daughter.

Countries: Egypt & Sudan

Directed by: Marwa Zein

Find more details about A Game here.

4. 'Love in Submission' (2019)

Still taken from YouTube.

Love in Submission has all the makings of an excellent suspense film. In the white-picket-fence suburbs of central New Jersey, two Muslim women who come from very different backgrounds and are meeting for the first time, discover they are already inextricably bound by an explosive secret.

Country: USA

Directed by: Lande Yoosuf

Find more details about Love in Submission here.

5. 'My Sister, Sara' (2020) 

Still taken from YouTube.

This short film highlights the work of Sarra Idris, a young woman and prominent grassroots activist, who kept the world informed during the Sudanese revolution of 2018/2019 which eventually led to the ousting of longtime dictator, Omar al-Bashir.

Country: USA

Directed by: Sarra Idris & Amin Elhassan

Find more details about My Sister, Sara here.

6. 'Troublemaker' (2019) 

Still taken from YouTube.

Troublemaker tells the story of a young boy who learns that all actions have consequences. Set in Eastern Nigeria, the coming-of-age film explores violence, masculinity and the effects that war has on multiple generations within a community.

Country: Nigeria

Directed by: Olive Nwosu

Find more details about Troublemaker here.

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Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Idris Elba Wants to Build a Film Studio In Tanzania

Renowned British actor Idris Elba is planning to open up a film studio in Tanzania, reports say.

Celebrated British actor Idris Elba is planning to open a film studio in Tanzania. The news was revealed by Tanzania's Director of Presidential Communications, Zuhura Yunus, during a press conference. According to Yunus, the plan for the studio was set in motion during Elba's meeting with President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


“Discussions on the project have just begun, and if successful, the project will help not only Tanzania but also Eastern and Central Africa,” said Yunus.

In the past, Elba, who is also an award-winning actor, filmmaker and musician, has made concerted efforts to be involved in, and contribute to the African entertainment industry. In the past, he has featured on songs with prominent African artists like D'banj, Drizilik, and Phyno, among others. Although he is a celebrated Hollywood actor, Elba has always stayed connected to the motherland and has made several efforts to represent his own Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian roots.

In an interview with South Africa's SA People News in 2022, the British movie star mentioned that he wants to shoot more films in Africa, as well as contribute in building and developing the future of the African film industry.

“Young Africans view me as a leader or a beacon. And I feel like I could bring something. So I’m keen to bring what I’ve learned in media and amplify it in Africa,” the Beast actor said at the time.

During the interview, the actor also mentioned that the continent deserved "real tender care."

“I’m really keen on the development of Africa. My parents come from Africa and more than anywhere in the world, I feel like that continent deserves some real tender care and love and thought.

Elba has historically represented Africa in powerful rooms that he has walked into

During the US-Africa Leaders Summit’s; Africa Digital Innovation Competitors event, he did not hesitate to place the importance of the African entertainment market at the forefront of his conversation.

“If there are any investors listening or watching today if you do not consider Africa as a viable investment, you’re not considering yourself or your future. Africa’s future is your own future and vice versa,” said Elba at the time.“We do not need aid anymore, we need innovation. We need partnership,” he added.

While there are no new updates on the move to build the studio in Tanzania, it seems as though the process is underway.

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The Best Amapiano Songs Out Right Now

Featuring Aymos, Uncle Vinny, Blaqnick & MasterBlaq, 2woBunnies, Balcony Mix Africa, and more

It's only been few weeks in and 2023 is already promising to be one of the most impactful years for amapiano internationally.

The recent announcements of Uncle Waffles and Major League DJz being billed to play at Coachella and Tomorrowland, respectively, earmarks the continuing steady rise of amapiano on the global stage. Drake (who recently likened listening to Kelvin Momo’s music to a religious experience) included some ‘piano tracks in his DJ set at a listening session in NYC. After its introduction to the festival last year, Afrochella’s Piano People stage is also heading to Miami this coming May with the likes of Focalistic, Musa Keys, Vigro Deep and TxC expected to perform.

With that said, we introduce our monthly round-up, solely dedicated to amapiano. Here are the amapiano songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

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Photo Series: Vic Mensa's Pilgrimage to Ghana

OkayAfrica traveled with Vic Mensa as he visited his father's childhood home, Koforidua. Here's a behind-the-scenes look about what happened.

Back in December, American rapper Vic Mensa went on a pilgrimage back home. The rapper was in Accra, Ghana for his historic Black Star Line Festival, which he was co-hosting with longtime friend and fellow rapper Chance the Rapper.

But, on a hot day before the festival, the rapper traveled two hours from Accra to Koforidua to visit his extended family. There is a lot of history in Koforidua. Highlife trailblazer Chief Kofi Sammy grew up there. Not only was he founder of the famous Okukuseku International Band but Sammy also had a long and fruitful relationship with Afrobeat legend Fula Kuti.

He also happens to be Vic Mensa's uncle. And part of the reason Vic took this trip is to convince Sammy to join him on stage at the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, in front of 50,000 fans. However, while there, Vic made sure he had time to connect with his extended family.

It was a special, intimate moment. One OkayAfrica was lucky enough to witness firsthand. Check out our photo gallery of Vic Mensa's pilgrimage below.

Photo By Adedamola Odetara for OkayAfrica

In December 2022, Vic Mensa took a trip to visit his uncle, legendary Highlife artist Chief Kofi Sammy. It’s about a two hour drive from Accra to Koforidua. A bit longer when you factor in Vic stopping for some of his favorite snacks.

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Photo: Etan Comics

Ethiopia’s First Superhero Comic is Going Global

Etan Comics is launching a kids version of the kickstarter-backed title, which will be published in 11 languages.


After the successful release of their graphic novel, Jember, Etan Comics is teaming up with the non-profit Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) to launch a special collaboration. Etan is working with the Seattle-based organization, which has produced over 700 bilingual early-reader titles, to turn Jember into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel.

The release of the book coincides with Black History Month, and will be launched in 11 different languages, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Greek, Igbo, Kiswahili, Spanish, and Wolayta. Jember was first published in hardcover format in October 2022, and after its release it garnered +$12K pre-orders on Kickstarter. The comic book is designed to help emerging readers build their reading confidence, and learn more about African cultures and languages. Created and written by Beserat Debebe, it was illustrated by Yonatan Solomon and Michael Okoroagha.

Jember is being turned into a bilingual kids book that's based on the award-winning graphic novel and will be available in 11 different languages.

Photo: Etan Comics

Beginning in mid-February, the books will be available globally on Amazon and IngramSpark. They will also be available at Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, and in public libraries shortly after.

With the release of Jember, Etan Comics aims to make African stories accessible to global readers. The collaboration will also help Ethiopian children, who make up 40% of the Ethiopian population, to be empowered through the story, which speaks to the rich cultural heritage of the Ethiopian history.

With this development, Etan Comics has joined the growing list of new generation of African comic book creators who are sharing African culture through comics to engage readers with various parts of the continent's history.

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